Interim Budget 2024: Thoughts of Top Industry Leaders
The interim budget 2024 announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman didn't offer much to be excited about, but the government continued on its fiscal consolidation path, focusing on capital expenditure and other welfare offerings. Union Budget 2024 largely revolved around financial decision-making and the development of strategy for the future. Here are the reactions from the top Industry leaders about the budget.
Sanjay Vyas, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Parexel India
“There were some significant announcements for different sectors in this interim budget. Though there were no major announcements for the clinical trials or the pharmaceuticals sector, initiatives to set up more medical colleges by utilizing the existing hospital infrastructure are highly commendable. This would attract more industry-academia partnerships for clinical research organizations and facilitate a larger research pool. It will also facilitate closer collaboration between clinicians and researchers and establish a more affordable infrastructure. Additionally, the emphasis on innovation and technological advancements will be highly beneficial for innovation in the healthcare sector at large. We hope that in the next budget after the elections, the government increases public healthcare spending to 2.5 percent of GDP.”
Anurag Mantri, ED, COO, and CFO, Nucleus Software
“In anticipation of the Union Budget, the BFSI industry eagerly awaits a vision that fuels economic growth with customer centricity at the core. The pillars of capital, talent, and infrastructure form the foundation for the forthcoming growth trajectory. We foresee continued governmental support in fortifying digital infrastructure, with a parallel focus on the measures for consumer security. In readiness for potential changes, we stand prepared to adapt, envisioning a budget that enhances existing policies for robust stability and strong growth. Furthermore, we look forward to a budget that actively encourages collaboration between the policymakers and the fintech innovators, fostering an inclusive ecosystem to propel India's digital economic agenda.”
Srinath Ramakkrushnan, Co-founder & COO, Zetwerk
“Upgrading railway bogies to Vande Bharat standards will enhance safety, convenience, and passenger experience, further bolstering our infrastructure and manufacturing activities. The research and development corpus of Rs1 trillion and focus on developing deep tech in the defense sector will prompt private companies to innovate and contribute to 'Atmanirbharta.'"
“These measures will generate employment and empower our youth. We believe that the successful implementation of these plans will add further momentum to the tailwinds propelling the Indian manufacturing industry and economy in general. Overall, this budget positions the Indian economy for continued success in the near and mid-term.”
Prashant Singh, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, LeadSquared
“The interim budget 2024 recognizes the potential of tech-focused startups and its vital contribution to the development of the country. The continuation of essential schemes like credit guarantee and Startup India, Funds of Funds shows a promising startup environment in India, one that will provide employment for youth in the country and drive innovation.”
Dr. Simmardeep S. Gill, MD & CEO, Sterling Hospitals
“The 2024 interim budget offers promising advancements for India's healthcare industry. We commend the government for establishing a cervical cancer prevention plan and their initiatives in encouraging cervical vaccination for girls between 9-14 years. The FM’s plan to set up a committee to increase access to medical education and have more medical colleges in the country demonstrates India’s commitment to long-term improvements in healthcare delivery.
Proactive public health programs like the extension of the Ayushman Bharat program to cover Anganwadi and Asha workers, expanding the reach of maternal and child healthcare schemes under one umbrella, and a renewed focus on Mission Indradhanush, ensuring complete childhood immunization are significant steps in promoting essential access to care for those serving rural communities. This streamlined approach can improve access and quality of care, particularly for vulnerable women and children in rural areas. Together, these measures paint a positive picture for a healthier, more prosperous Vikasit Bharat.”
HP Singh, CMD at Satin Creditcare Network Ltd
“The government’s pivotal focus on women empowerment throughout the past ten years has enabled ‘Nari Shakti’ to be a true force by defying erstwhile entrepreneurial impediments, making them realize their caliber and emphasizing their capability to contribute significantly towards the country’s growth and GDP. The Lakhpati Didi Scheme empowering nearly one crore women, 30 crore MUDRA Yojana loans for women entrepreneurship and ease of living and dignity underscores a dedicated effort towards women's empowerment in the last decade. Emphasizing the need for SHGs (Self Help Groups) through the already 83 lakh SHGs with nine crore women transforming the rural socio-economic landscape until now will aid women to become more resilient and contribute efficiently to the workforce in the country.”
Sachin Panicker, Chief AI Officer, Fulcrum Digital
“Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's sixth consecutive budget presentation sets a decisive course for India's future, rooted in the vision of 'Viksit Bharat' by 2047. The government's emphasis on GDP - Governance, Development, and Performance, lays a sturdy framework for sustainable growth. With a focus on empowering youth and fostering innovation, the budget outlines a roadmap for unprecedented development over the next five years.
“In addition, initiatives like the Skill India Mission, training, upskilling and reskilling 1.4 crore youth and establishing new educational institutions, reflect a commitment to human capital development and digital empowerment. At Fulcrum Digital, we stand ready to leverage deep technology and the power of our youth to continue to create opportunities for India at a global level. As a global enterprise AI organization, we are committed to contributing to India's growth story and fostering innovation for heightened development."
Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC
“The Interim Union Budget 2024 focuses on data-driven innovation, and this gives us much to look forward to. The Honourable Finance Minister has acknowledged the potential of deep technologies like AI to transform varied industry sectors. In addition, the GoI’s focus on training, upskilling, and reskilling the youth of the nation through the Skill India mission is likely to place India well on the global map of tech-savvy nations. With India’s tech prowess growing, we expect the need for unified storage and intelligent data infrastructures to grow as well. Harnessing the power of data will be a key growth driver and differentiator for businesses across sectors.”
Debashis Chatterjee, MD & CEO, LTIMindtree
“We welcome the interim budget's focus on skilling, deep tech, R&D, innovation, and digital infrastructure, all of which are critical drivers for the IT industry's growth. The Skill India Mission has helped in building a highly skilled workforce, and the Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus with interest-free loans for tech-savvy youth will be a true game-changer. This will fuel innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering the next generation of tech leaders. As we strive towards achieving the goal of "Viksit Bharat" by 2047, LTIMindtree stands committed to partnering with the government in its digital transformation journey. We believe this interim budget has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, with technology playing a pivotal role in shaping India's future.”
Sunil Sharma, Vice President- Sales, Sophos India & SAARC
We at Sophos are in complete alignment with the vision presented by the Honorable Finance Minister in the Interim Union Budget 2024, towards creating a prosperous and inclusive India. The highlighted emphasis on skill development, technology-driven innovation, and sustainable infrastructure resonates with our organizational mission, which focuses on empowering Indian businesses through state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions. The government's steadfast commitment to increasing the cybersecurity budget from INR 400 crores to Rs. 750 crores within a year is a noteworthy development within the industry and promises to address cybersecurity threats that may endanger the rapidly digitizing nation.
"Sharma adds, “The intersection of democracy, demography, and diversity, encapsulated by the ideology of "Sabka Prayas," emerges as the key force that will unlock India's true potential in the technology sector. Other significant initiatives, such as the allocation of a substantial amount of Rs 1 lakh crore for tech startups and the strategic emphasis on deep-tech for defense, underscore the government's dedication towards realizing its Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.”
Chakravarthi C, Managing Director, Quantum Energy
“The emphasis on eco-conscious initiatives in the previous budget, with environmental sustainability among the top 7 priorities, set a commendable precedent. In today’s budget, this commitment is not only sustained but elevated, reflecting a clear understanding of the urgent need to address environmental challenges. While applauding the positive aspects of the interim budget, we note certain expectations that remain unmet. The imminent expiration of the FAME II subsidy program by March 2024 sparked hopes for its extension, aligning with the government’s ambitious 2030 target of 30 percent electric vehicles on Indian roads.
“An extension would have solidified support for the EV industry. Furthermore, a substantial reduction in GST on lithium-ion battery packs and cells, from 18 to 5 percent, would have alleviated manufacturing costs, making EVs more competitively priced and boosting consumer adoption. The absence of a standardized policy for the battery-swapping market is also a missed opportunity. A unified policy would enhance safety, streamline charging infrastructure, and create a more reliable and secure environment for EV users. As we look forward to the full budget post-general elections, we hope these crucial aspects receive due consideration for the sustainable growth of the electric vehicle sector,” Chakravarthi adds.
Alok Kashyap, Founder and CEO, Yatiken Software Solutions
"In line with the government’s ambitious vision of technology contributing 20-25% to the GDP by 2025, this forward-looking budget charts a promising course for the IT sector. The allocation for EV infrastructure development is particularly noteworthy as it opens avenues for software development in EV systems, IoT integration, and data analytics. The 1-lakh crore corpus for long-term financing is another indispensable boon for the IT industry, fostering innovation and research. Moreover, the Skill India Mission’s initiatives and tax benefits for startups provide a robust foundation for skill development and entrepreneurial growth.